As we close out this decade, I am compelled to look back and reflect…and quite frankly, this decade changed me. It showed me who I truly am. It showed me that I could find my light again out of my darkest place. It showed me that I possessed this undiscovered strength within me. These past 10 years dealt me my most devastating losses, yet at the same time gifted me my most celebrated milestones to date, along with a litany of crazy in between. This decade introduced me (truly) to wine, and thus ushered me into my passion and my purpose.
While I’m intentional about my goals, vision, and manifestation, ever since 2010 I’ve paused at the idea of looking to the next year overzealously. You see, in 2010 I had BIG hopes and dreams of what the new decade would look like for me, as I had just lived (what I thought to be) my most challenging decade. I was ready for all that 2010 would bring…or so I thought. Just five days into 2010 I received the news that my Mother, Brenda’s, breast cancer had spread, and that she only had three to six months to live.
My Mother, My Bestie, My Rock, My Rider, My Everything through all our ups and downs passed away on March 24, 2010. I was convinced that all the BIG hopes and dreams I had for the new decade died when I lost her. It’s certainly how I felt at the time.
On the Thursday before my Mother passed, I was offered a job as an On-Premise Sales Representative with the largest Wine & Spirits Distributor in the state of Maryland. This offer completely changed the trajectory of my career at the age of 32. When I got the call, I was in the car with my Mom and some family members, and despite her significant physical decline with little verbal communication, she mustered enough strength to share in my excitement.
It was literally one of the last times she was able to communicate with us. I genuinely believe she knew I’d be ok when I got that offer, and that’s when she started to let go.
My Purpose Awakened
Fast Forward: I started on this side of the industry (sales and distribution) on May 3, 2010. I was broken emotionally and ready to dive head-first into my new career as a much-needed distraction. My hustle helped me find success quickly, and I knew that this new industry was the one I would eventually retire from.
It wasn’t until 2012 when I had my first trip to Napa Valley (thanks to a sponsored incentive trip with Gallo) that I began to get a deeper understanding that my career would eventually lead me to wine without the spirits. My Mountain Top moment came at MacMurray Ranch in Sonoma. As I watched the Russian River Valley meander through the property while on Inspiration Point, I had a moment of gratitude that triggered happy tears. I was thankful that I was able to experience things and go places my Mother never had the opportunity to. I knew that I would continue to LIVE for her and more importantly myself. I also knew that Wine was going to be a big part of that. I just didn’t know how at the time. After that trip I went on to represent the Patrón Portfolio before moving to Atlanta with my Fiancé (now hubby).
It was the Atlanta move that solidified the wine path I’m on today!
When I moved to Atlanta, although I had received significant wine training with my distributor in Maryland, none of those certifications were recognized outside of Maryland. Moving here is when I really began to dial into CSW, WSET, and the Court of Master Sommeliers to further my knowledge and credibility. The more I learned, the more I realized that I needed to share it. After all, this knowledge did no one any good if after passing the test, I only allowed it to float around in my head. In addition, I saw how the Wine Industry looked surprisingly the same in Atlanta as it did in Maryland. That similarity showed a glaring lack of diversity. I also noticed that although we as Black people have continued to elevate and excel economically culturally there was still an overwhelming disparity in simple wine knowledge and etiquette, which once given access to would only enhance our lives.
I thought about my Mother and her legacy. She wanted to be remembered for helping people. And it clicked! Sharing this knowledge would be my way of honoring her legacy! So, in 2017 The Lotus & The Vines was born, and what a CRAZY ride it’s been!
2019: The Representation of a Decade
I watched 2019 rock the worlds of many people I know and love, including mine. The empathy I feel is inexplicable. I’ve also experienced amazing career and personal milestones that continue to show me that I’m on the right path. I’m still hesitant to go running into 2020 with open arms. BUT what I learned from these last ten years is that no matter what is thrown my way, I’m an overcomer, I have amazing Guardian Angels, I can find my light again, and I will protect my peace at all costs. That coupled with a lot of Prayer, Wine, and Therapy will continue to carry me. And while I would still love to go back and rewrite some of history, I know that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. Cheers to that!